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Life and Work with Stephanie Dean

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie Dean.

Stephanie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started selling Cinnamon Annie Dolls quite by accident. In 2016, I started sewing Raggedy Ann style dolls for my own personal enjoyment. I named them Cinnamon Annie. I loved my dolls, but I couldn’t imagine that anyone else would be interested in such a vintage style doll, I shared some of my dolls on Instagram and Facebook just for fun. When followers and friends started asking to purchase their own Cinnamon Annie Doll, I was so surprised but happy to have an excuse to make more dolls. As of now, I have made and sold over 350 dolls online and in person.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The business end of StepStitches is the most challenging part. It’s hard sometimes juggling all the different entrepreneurial balls-legal, financial, marketing, and making the dolls. But it has been very rewarding and has blessed me to learn, grown and stretch beyond my fears and self-imposed limitations.

My advice to young women starting out is to follow your enthusiasm: Take time to find out what you love to do + what are you good at + what will people pay you to do. If you can marry those three elements together, you will most likely have success in life and business.

Never stop developing your skills, talents, and abilities, whether it’s a personal hobby or professional endeavor. You never know where those skills will take you. I was an elementary teacher, then a social worker, now a dollmaker. Who knew? All because I follow my interests and hone my skill set.

Please tell us about StepStitches.
I have a home-based sewing business called StepStitches. I specialize in handmade Cinnamon Annie Dolls and companion products. Cinnamon Annie is a vintage style doll with a modern twist. As a brand, I am most proud of the quality of my product as well as the positive response from customers who were delighted to give their children, friends or even themselves nostalgic yet modern gift.

Were there people and/or experiences you had in your childhood that you feel laid the foundation for your success?
As a child, I was a hardcore doll lover. I played with, slept with, and loved my dollies, including Raggedy Ann. My mother was very intentional about searching out African American dolls for me because she felt they would play a positive role in nourishing my self-esteem.

Finding African American dolls in the late 1960/70’s was no easy task but she was diligent and resourceful. I had a great doll collection. Interestingly, Raggedy Ann was the only non-African American doll I had because I begged to have one and she could not find a Black one for me. It’s full circle moment for me to make and sell Black Raggedy Ann style Dolls that have been so well received.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Stephanie Dean

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